My son is 4 and will be starting school in the fall (just before he turns 5 - we live in Scotland and this is the normal starting age)
First of all, I believe that all kids are ready for different types of learning at different ages. Here in Scotland, pre-school involves very little in the way of formal learning. Even letters and numbers are only casually introduced through puzzles etc, as and when the child takes an interest themselves. My son started off at pre-school in Texas at 2.5 where they were much more into "learning" and table work and they regularly tried to teach them letters and numbers. In my opinion, this was a way too early - my son was much more into playing with tractors at this age and not interested in table work in the slightest. I'm perfectly happy with the way things are done at pre-school here. However, I'd like to have him starting school with a little bit of a head-start and he's showing signs of being quite interested so I want to capitalise on that interest while he's showing it, without pushing him too hard. I definitely don't want to him to be fully reading before starting school - I read before school and was fine with it, but I have a feeling that he's the type of kid who will get bored if he's being taught stuff he already knows and act out.
I guess what I'm interested in is what other people have done in terms of pre-school teaching to read and what was useful/less useful and if anything caused a problem when the kid did start school. I guess I'm also a little bit lost as to where to start. We do the upper case alphabet (which he knows from Texas pre-school and Sesame Street, but is a bit rusty on) and I'm doing the lower case alphabet and sounds which is going well. We've also started some basic phonics (-at words) as he's got some simple phonics story books that help with those (but only three phonics sets). Obviously we do loads of just reading story books together, and he's started "reading" his little sister her books to her (from memory, but following along the words with his finger like he's really reading - super cute!)
Thanks in advance for any advice and/or suggestions of books/resources that may help us.